Singin' in the Rain
by Justin-Siena Theatre
When silent movie stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are called upon to make a “talkie,” Lina’s outrageous voice may dispel her movie charm. Even less charming than her voice is her personality, and the real Lina is prepared to ruin truly talented Kathy Selden’s new career in order to further her own. But that won’t happen if Don can help it, as he’s so smitten with Kathy that he’s literally Singin’ in the Rain.

It’s one of those unusual musicals that started as a movie and then went to the stage. And in Director Matthew Teague Miller’s brilliantly conceived and executed production at Justin-Siena High School, the stage show starts and ends as a movie (and with lots of other creative film work thrown into the middle).

Multi-talented Jeffrey Gerlomes, who also Makes ‘Em Laugh in the show as Don’s charismatic best friend Cosmo Brown, put together some terrific video footage for the production. It all starts with the opening images of the classic film, then gives way to the credits for this stage production, and flows into historic-looking news reel footage of a big Lina and Lamont film premiere of The Royal Rascal featuring the stars of this show. And they had lots of fun putting The Royal Rascal together including a dastardly villain who twirls his moustache and fight choreography that has Don Lamont knocking two bad guys out by knocking their heads together.

After the film lets out, we see the stars come out to sign autographs for their crazed fans (the ensemble cast). Those stars include Michael Starr as Don Lamont, a dynamic dance machine who has an instinctive feel for dance and showmanship as seen in Moses Supposes (cleverly staged with the whole cast, at one point Cosmo directing the ensemble as if they were marionettes), then nailing the signature title tune with splashy delight, all choreographed brilliantly by the always amazing Lisa Clark-Schmeling.

Mary Kate Francis stars as a sweet Kathy Selden with a lovely voice who turns on the charm in the lively and refreshing Good Morning as the trio of Don, Kathy, and Cosmo realize they’ve been up all night. Her antagonist Lina Lamont is double-cast between Alexandra Brown and, on the night I attended, Mary Gerlomes. Mary’s hilarious performance adds much to an already terrific role, her outrageous diva-hood on display in her marvelous melodrama as she is in awe of her own greatness. But her self-infatuation doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the other characters in the show, which is very confusing for poor Lina as we see in her great solo What’s Wrong With Me.

The ensemble does terrific work as film fans, silent film actors, and dancers/singers in Moses Supposes, Beautiful Girls, All I Do the Whole Night Through, Gotta Dance, and the big finale that features the whole cast in yellow raincoats singing and dancing in the rain.

And yes, it does rain on stage. Steve Silva Plumbing ran the pipes and gutters to make the falling rain and the puddling street in which Don can splash around. A few other highlights in this one include the school’s new principal getting drafted in a pre-show auction to make a cameo on stage, joining the other auction “winner” as a couple autograph seekers. No problem for the principal, who met his wife in a high school production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The director gets into the act as well, giving an amusing demonstration as to what constitutes a talking picture. His “talking picture” portion of the stage show includes such clever staging as having Lina and Lamont practicing talking into their microphones on the screen while the live actors in the sound booth struggle with Lina’s technical difficulties. At one point, a sound booth technician walks behind the screen to adjust a microphone and appears in the film as she walks toward Lina and Lamont, then leaves the film and appears walking back on stage. And it all ends where it began, with the cast members running off toward the backstage and appearing on the big screen above the stage, from film to stage to film again.

Performs November 5 - 15, 2009

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Dora: Mercedes Flynn
Don: Michael Starr
Lina: Mery Gerlomes
Cosmo: Jeffrey Gerlomes
Simpson: William Perdue
Roz: Deanna Maher
Dexter: Caleb Heine
Young Don: Chris Marks
Young Cosmo: William Francis
Kathy Selden: Mary Kate Francis
Party Girl: Sarah Francke
Zelda: Drew Dorsey
Policeman: Caleb Heinie
Assistant 1: Stephanie Lovell
Assistant 2: Sarah Francke
Assistant 3: Gabrielle Morrongiello
Production Tenor: Jose Basulto
Miss Dinsmore: Mercedes Flynn
Diction Teacher: Karsten Cayabyab
Sid Phillips: Jose Basulto
Dancer B. Melody: Delaney Schmeling

Coconut Grove Girls:
Ali Brown
Sophia French
Olivia Mason
Delaney Schmeling
Cameron Smith
Sarah Weakley
Mikayla Weiner
Caroline Zaia

Beautiful Girl Dancers:
Paulina Battegazzore
Vivian Boking
Drew Dorsey
Sarah Francke
Maria Guieterriez
Gabby Morrongiello
Lexie Martin
Annemarie Mendeonsa
Maleana Raymond
Elyse Quast
Anna Von Staehle

Director: Matthew Teague Miller
Choreographer: Lisa Clark-Schmeling
Lighting Design: Tom Durante
Set Design: Matthew Teague Miller
Sound Design: Sound Expressions
Costume Design: Olivia Mason
Stage and Production Manager: Sarah Miller
House Manager: Sarah Prittie
Multi-Media Coordinator: Jeffrey Gerlomes
Assistant Director: Jose Basulto
Stage Crew:
Rebecca Bauchner
Dwight Boyko
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Christina Franzino
Rick Ley
Zach McCrane
Bobby Peatman
Katie Schloesser


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